Flowers in Church

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 13 August 2023

I came across an American Tibetan-Buddhist, Pema Chodron, who said, “Appreciate everything, even the ordinary. Especially the ordinary.” It inspired me to think how we should be mindful of the things that often get neglected and later on, we just lose. Some say we really do not understand the true value of things until we lose them. And how many times have we ended with regrets.           

The Lord was not in the strong wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire. But instead, the prophet Elijah experienced God through a tiny whispering sound, common, simple and as ordinary as human breath. It had to be “outside” and “on the mountain.” Sometimes, we can only notice and appreciate the most common things when we step outside of the ordinary, day to day happenings. The mountain was a special place where the Jews encountered God in the Old Testament. Jesus, too, went there to pray and be with the Father. Some special areas, places and spaces make us feel more God’s presence. Some people do pilgrimages for spiritual nourishment and enrichment.

Paul mentioned God’s great gifts to the Israelites, namely, their adoption, the glory, the covenants, the law, the worship, the promises, the patriarchs, and from them, the greatest gift of all, Christ. What more can they ask for? Nothing more. And yet, they still did not accept Jesus. They failed to appreciate what they already have. So, Paul was in great sorrow and in constant anguish. He struggled to accept their unbelief. Now, we can have a good grasp of what parents, who value their faith so much, go through when their children do not anymore practice the faith. It is so painful to see people who waste their natural and God-given gifts and talents.

The disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea. At first, they were terrified. Jesus gave them confidence and courage. Peter was able to walk on the water, too, but sank when strong wind distracted him. Problems and challenges in life easily distract us. They make us forget that God has given us all the tools to succeed in life. God provides and supplies everything we need. Many of those, God already has given to us. But there is a disclaimer. God provides and supplies, only, everything that will be good for us. God is always present to us for as long as we live. God is in that tiny whispering sound, which for me, is simply, breath. May we truly appreciate the gift of life and faith. May we see true meaning and importance in the most basic things that we already possess. 


Fr Gilbert

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